Whole Milk vs Heavy Cream – Which Should You Go For?

The dairy aisle in every grocery store is probably the most visited. It is also a confusing one because there are too many similar products, yet they are different. In this case of comparing whole milk vs heavy cream, these are not very similar products.

If you use these two dairy products very often, you can tell their physical differences. Yet, this comparison will help you determine which is healthier, how to substitute one for the other, and shop wisely.

What is whole milk?

Whole milk is a dairy product from cows with a fat content of at least 3.25%. It is also called full-fat milk, full-cream milk, or vitamin D milk.

Whole milk also refers to milk in its purest form because it still contains all its milk fat unlike reduced-fat milk and skim milk.

It has more nutrients than its low-fat counterparts and contains fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.

What is heavy cream?

Heavy cream is a dairy product gotten from cows’ milk. It is cream with no less than 36% fat and is also called heavy whipping cream. Heavy cream is a fusion of milk and milk fat.

The fat contained is emulsified and thoroughly mixed into the milk so that it doesn’t become separated.

Manufacturers make this dairy product by adding specific proportions of milk fat to milk. It’s also a marked source of hydrogenated fat. The definition of heavy cream is subject to the labeling standards of the Food and Drug Administration.

Are heavy cream and whole milk the same?

No, they are not the same. The two dairy products differ in taste, texture, and make. Whole milk contains 3.25% fat, while heavy cream contains about 36% to 40% milk fat.

Is heavy cream better than whole milk?

No, it’s not. Heavy cream contains a higher quantity of fat than milk. It also contains nutrients like vitamin A, calcium, and Riboflavin.

When fresh milk is left to sit, the fatty part rises. Producers make the homogenized cream by separating the layer filled with fat to become the most accurate form of heavy cream.

However, the fat in heavy cream is saturated and may also contain stabilizers and thickeners. Health practitioners have linked saturated fat in this dairy product to many health concerns in the past.

Whole milk, on the other hand, only has 3.5% fat and is a healthier option. Plus, it is also rich in vitamins and minerals, proteins, and healthy fats.

Whole milk vs heavy cream: composition

Heavy cream contains 82% more calories than whole milk. It also contains more carbs and fat but is low in protein.

The carbs in both dairy creams contain 100% sugar. Specifically, heavy cream has 2.9g of sugar per 100 grams, while whole cream milk has 5.1g of sugar.

Whole milk has 3.2g of protein per 100 grams, while heavy cream has 2.8g.

Whole milk vs heavy cream for keto

Heavy cream is the better dairy option for a keto diet. Whole milk provides 12 g of carbs per cup while heavy cream has only 1g of carbs per tablespoon.

Can you use whole milk instead of heavy cream in ice cream?

Many ice cream recipes use heavy cream because it makes ice cream creamier. But, you can also use whole milk to make ice cream at home.

Can you use whole milk instead of heavy cream in alfredo pasta?

Whole milk is an excellent substitute for heavy cream in alfredo pasta. But, because it is not as thick as heavy cream, you have to whip whole milk with flour and butter until you have heavy cream.

Can whole milk be substituted for heavy cream in soup?

If you run out of heavy cream while making soup, make your heavy cream with whole milk and butter or whole milk and flour. Adding butter or flour helps to thicken the milk and make it as creamy as heavy cream.


What is the purpose of heavy cream in a recipe?

Heavy cream whips and holds its shape better, which is why you can use it for everything, from pastries to fillings.

Is whole milk better than heavy cream for coffee?

Whole milk contains fewer calories and less fat than heavy cream. Therefore, it is a healthier dairy option if you want to reduce your calorie and fat intake. Moreover, whole milk is a healthier choice for people who drink coffee every day.

What milk is closest to heavy cream?

Evaporated milk has the closest similarity to heavy cream in creaminess. You can use it in a cup-for-cup substitution in any recipe that uses heavy cream as a liquid.

Although it may not whip well, it adds enough moisture to baked goods.


Physically, whole milk and heavy cream have more differences than similarities. Similarly, they do not have the same composition.

Each dairy product is uniquely created to suit its original purpose. But, they can be great alternatives for each other and also help you cut your grocery bill in half.

However, always go for the healthier option.

Also, did you know you can make whole milk at home? If you didn’t learn how to make fresh whole milk at home.

Thanks for reading.